this is the 129th in my series of posts on forgotten or seldom read books
Orchestrated Death by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles, Avon Books 1993 mass market paperback, mystery. 1st Detective Inspector Bill Slider
“Slider woke with that particular sense of doom generated by Rogan Josh and Mixed Vegetable Bhaji eaten too late at night, followed by a row with Irene.”
Bill Slider isn’t a very happy man. His wife never misses an opportunity to remind him that in her eyes he is a failure. She is certain they should be living in a nicer neighborhood, in a more impressive house, mingling with a better social crowd, and it’s all his fault that they aren‘t.
At work it’s the reverse, Slider is loved and respected by everyone, and he’s a pretty good cop to boot. At the moment, his problem is that a pretty young woman has been found in an empty apartment in the projects, naked and dead. The place has been so thoroughly cleaned there isn’t the least hope of a clue, except for an odd sort of bruise, more like a callous on her neck, which the ME identifies as the mark violinists get from gripping the instrument between the neck and shoulder.
This leads – eventually – to the identification of Ann-Marie Austin, whom it seems had skill but few friends. She is a member of the local symphony orchestra, and that leads Slider to the other musicians in the orchestra, particularly a woman who seems to have been the murdered girl’s only friend.
There’s an instant attraction between the cop and the woman, and though he knows it’s wrong Slider lets himself fall into an affair with her. Suddenly he is cheating on his wife and sleeping with a possible suspect.
I have to admit I’m not a big fan of love scenes in genre fiction, I always feel they get in the way, but the author balances the clinches with the angst they cause and so I think it works here. An aside: I never have a problem with this in a film even when it gets more explicit than it does here. Must be something in the power of the printed word.
I liked this book a lot, for the characters, particularly Slider. I have read the next couple in the series and they are just as good, and the three are available in the omnibus shown at right. Recommended
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More Friday Forgotten Book posts
can be found at Patti Abbott’s fine blog Pattinase